In October 2018, OWHN/RHFO held its annual conference at the beautiful Canadian Museum of History (CMH) in Gatineau, P.Q. The Conference theme was “Exhibiting Gender: Telling Her Stories.” Participants explored women’s representation in the new History Hall and other museum exhibits. Thanks to CMH agreeing to be a co-host of the conference, it was possible for us to be in the building dedicated to the history of Canada. We would also like to thank Nancy Ruth’s Foundation and Carleton University for their support.
The conference began Friday afternoon with CMH curators James Trepanier and Tim Foran taking delegates on tours of the History Hall. After that, conference participants heard from Kathyrn Lyons, Manager of Visitor Experience, followed by a unique interview of Nancy Ruth, longtime feminist advocate and philanthropist, by Beth Acheson.
It was a very special occasion to be in the History Hall while Ruth and Acheson spoke of long years advocating for women’s history in public places such as the Canadian Museum of History. It was, and still is, a struggle to gain space for women in the historical narrative especially at the national level.
The following day, a workshop was held in the Museum’s Douglas Cardinal Room, which included sessions on women and gender at several museums and historic sites. Delegates caught glimpses of royal wives at Hampton Court in London, England, and daughters of the empire at Sharon Temple National Historic Site. Interpreters from the Museum of Science and Technology in Ottawa, regional museums in Waterloo and London, Ontario, digital museums, and Toronto’s HerStories in public places also shared their experiences. As well, there was an educational, interactive workshop encouraging participants to explore artifacts in the History Hall through a gendered lens.
The annual general meeting of OWHN/RHFO settled important business matters, and of particular interest, the decision was made to hold the next conference at the London Museum, Ontario, under the expert guidance of curator Amber Lloydlangston. Watch the website for upcoming call for papers, and registration information.